This subject makes me sad and frustrated. I don't have anything new to say that I haven't already said a dozen times, but here's the latest:
The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to overcome a Republican-led filibuster against tougher gun laws, clearing the way for a major congressional debate on a package of proposals sought by President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Connecticut school massacre.Previously: In Pursuit of Doing Something Meaningful and An Observation About Mental Illness and Their Bootstraps Made Them Do It.
The procedural vote followed a breakthrough by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, on broadening background checks to include private purchases at gun shows and on the Internet.
Because of the bipartisan deal, Senate Democrats proposing the legislation received support from enough Republicans to pass the cloture motion, 68-31, that sets up debate expected to last for two weeks.
However, the powerful gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association opposes the legislation and made clear it will seek political retribution on any legislator that supports it, including in Thursday's vote on launching Senate debate.
...In announcing the compromise, Manchin noted the proposal meant that firearms buyers at gun shows would face the same background check currently required in sales by federally licensed gun dealers. In addition, it would close a loophole that exempts intrastate gun sales on the Internet from requiring a background check, he said.
Addressing concerns of the NRA that expanding background checks would burden law-abiding gun owners seeking to trade or gift weapons in a personal transfer, Manchin declared that "personal transfers are not touched whatsoever."
Another provision would recognize the legitimacy of concealed weapons permits across state lines.
The Manchin-Toomey compromise also would require states and the federal government to provide records on criminals and the "violently mentally ill" to the national background check system, addressing a criticism by the NRA and other opponents of gun laws that the existing system lacks substantive information.
In addition, the plan calls for a new National Commission on Mass Violence to report in six months on "all aspects of the problem, including guns, school safety, mental health, and violent media or video games."